Category Archives: Berries

Where to Find the Most Delectable Strawberries

fraises-blog

Strawberries may have moved up into the most popular category of fruit but that doesn’t mean all strawberries are equal in the taste — and health — department. We present the most delicious, good-for-you varieties  along with some unforgettable strawberry cousins to grow at home. Read all about it on KQED’s food blog here.

Great Ingredients: Ultimate Strawberries

How do I love thee, let me count….well, you get the idea.   I think that strawberries are the most exquisite of fruit.  Not those hard, sour, supermarket berries consumed by many whose only positive quality is their red color, but the carefully tended varieties that strawberry lovers like me hunt down in farmers markets or in our own strawberry patch — and sometimes, in far-away lands.  More on that later.

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Recipe: Bittersweet Chocolate Tart with Raspberry Dust

This tart recipe is based on one made by renowned French chef Joël Robuchon. It’s simple to make, deeply bittersweet and quite rich.  The berry “dust” is an optional addition and gives the tart a modern edge — “dust” is popular in molecular gastronomy dishes and is made from dehydrated ingredients, pulverized. Garnishing dishes with “dust” is a simple way to zip up your cooking and surprise your guests.  The tart shell includes almonds, but skinned hazelnuts could be substituted. Continue reading

Recipe: Fresh Fruit Tart with Tarragon

I love fruit tarts, but not the overly sweet, overly rich kind with “glazed” fruit — which is the kind you usually see in bakeries and recipes.  My tart, however, combines a light, herb-flavored pastry cream (containing no cream) and fresh berries tossed in a little fresh lemon juice and sugar. I’ve served this tart at several dinner parties and guests invariably wanted extra helpings, which is gratifying.  Continue reading

Light Recipe: Rhubarb Ginger Sorbet with Swanton Strawberries, Aged Balsamic Vinegar and Greek Yogurt

rhubarb

Dieters, this delicious dessert is almost guilt free.

Sounds ho-hum? In fact, it’s wonderful: light in calories, big in flavor and as satisfying as it is  guilt free.  My friend Patti, a Midwestern girl, introduced me  to the rhubarb sorbet concept (rhubarb is a popular ingredient back there but not so much during my California upbringing). I’d never bought rhubarb before but now I’m a believer. The sorbet is intense and creamy, the latter being a natural property of cooked rhubarb.  Also helping is the fact that no water is used in the sorbet recipe (sorbets usually are made with sugar water).  The best choice for the  strawberries are the wondrous ones from Swanton, which are available at the Menlo Park farmers market, Whole Foods and elsewhere.  And the Fage brand Greek-style yogurt is to yogurt what Domaine de la Romanée Conti is to pinot noir. Another discovery I have Patti to thank for. Continue reading

Recipe: Strawberry Gazpacho (David Kinch)

The simplicity of this recipe belies how out-of-this-world wonderful it tastes.I begged David for months for the recipe because I couldn’t duplicate it. He sometimes serves this as an amuse bouche before the meal starts.Great berries are a necessity, so go to a farmers market or buy the divine Swanton strawberries sometimes sold at Whole Foods. At Manresa (his superb restaurant in Los Gatos), he uses the freshest ingredients available, of course, so be choosy in your shopping. Higher-end grocery stores like Draeger’s are more likely to carry the quality balsamic vinegar and nut oil (best: imported French oil such as J. Leblanc; the only acceptable domestic oils are by LaTourangelle) called for in the recipe. David’s recipes are presented “chef’s style,” in weight measurements rather than the volume measurements typically found in home recipes. I’ve added some further explanations in the recipe. Continue reading

A Simple Approach for Killer Salads

Forget about mixing vinaigrettes, blending dressings, etc. The essence of a green salad is best experienced with the simplest approach to dressing the greens (and other things).It’s amazingly easy and can be scaled from a quick salad for one to greens for a crowd. Instructions follow, along with two delicious recipes.

One of them is a summer recipe that relies on ingredients from local farmers markets, highlighted by some of the best strawberries anywhere, grown by Swanton (sold at Menlo Park farmers market). Continue reading